How to: Make a DIY Tropical Leaf Tablecloth

by on Apr 23, 2015

I can’t get enough of the tropical foliage trend lately.  Here in sunny California, Spring has definitely arrived and Summer is just around the corner.  I’m ready to host some backyard BBQs and warm weather brunches.  I decided a new tablecloth was a must for this season.  This DIY Tropical Leaf Tablecloth is so easy to make and the results are bold and beautiful.

A tropical leaf being shown up close.
Photo: Jeran McConnel

Here’s what you’ll need:

A giant leaf in green relief table cloth covering a table with a pineapple, a wooden bowl of yellow apples, a plate of meat sclices, a platter of bread rolls and a green glass bottle.
Photo: Jeran McConnel
A pineapple and colorful items sit on a green floor.
Photo: Jeran McConnel
A colorful tablecloth has a bowl of fruits on it.
Photo: Jeran McConnel

Start with a crisp white tablecloth of a few yards of white fabric.  Since I have a really long dining table, I chose to simply hem 3 yards of polyester blend, 60″ wide fabric.  You could use 100% cotton, but I find something with a little polyester is less likely to wrinkle.  It’s important to iron the tablecloth well before painting.  Any creases and bumps in the fabric will be emphasized by the spray paint. 

A huge leaf is on a newspaper in the grass.
Photo: Jeran McConnel

The foliage options are pretty limitless, but I love the look of this oversized tropical leaf with the cutouts (a split leaf philodendron) .  I bought this large artificial one at Hobby Lobby, but your local florist would probably sell you a single live leaf for sure.  And if you don’t want to go all over town hunting tropical leaves, Etsy has quite a few.  Lay the tablecloth out as flat as possible outside or in a very well ventilated area.  Be sure to use a drop cloth or newspaper for the edges.  Using a dark green spray paint, paint around the outside of the leaf first (about 1″ wide) and then fill in the center.  

A hand spraying a leaf painting
Photo: Jeran McConnel

Move the leaf to another part of the tablecloth and repeat.  Be sure to rotate the leaf in different directions to create a random look.  Also place the leaf halfway on and halfway off of the edges of the tablecloth.

Leaves are growing and leaving shadows.
Photo: Jeran McConnel

Now how easy was that?  I was so impressed with how crisp the leaves came out and I love the faded effect the sprayed edges give.  I know I’m going to get a lot of use out this leafy tablecloth.  

A white table cloth with designs of green leaves.
Photo: Jeran McConnel
Some fruit sit in a wooden basket shaped like a pineapple.
Photo: Jeran McConnel

"Fruits with bowl and flower in bottle kept on table."
Photo: Jeran McConnel
A giant green leaf over a small yellow leaf and a pink bloom.
Photo: Jeran McConnel

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7 Comments

  1. the perfect idea for when you want an affordable, but custom table cloth!  love, love this idea!  i can’t wait to try it out!

  2. Diena Cameron

    Love this, i can see it in yellow,  red, pink, turquoise,  purple, black. Just about any color would work.  Thanks.  

  3. cathie borresen

    How timely, gotta cut back my giant leaves AND have a ripped sheet which, tho not white, could become a table cloth. Since it’s a dark color I’ll use lighter colored spray paint(s). Thanks for the inspiration!